Yellowstone wolf count reaches 218

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Yellowstone wolf count reaches 218

4/15/02

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - The number of wolves counted in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem recently was 218, up from 177 in 2000, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Ed Bangs, the agency's wolf recovery coordinator, said the population boom since wolves were first reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in 1995 was expected.

"Any time you introduce you see a rapid increase," he said.

Bangs is now expecting more problems to arise as wolves disperse and move into sheep and cattle country, and he expects that federal and state officials will have to kill more problem animals.

"As the numbers increase they have to find their own territory," he said.

Nine wolves were killed for causing problems in the Yellowstone area last year, up from six in 2000. Wolves killed 22 cattle and 117 sheep in the ecosystem last year, up from seven cattle and 39 sheep in 2000.

Bangs said most sheep were killed in southeast Idaho, where 30 to 40 sheep were killed at once in one area.

"Sheep are very vulnerable to predators," he said. "Wolves can kill large numbers of at a time."

The environmental study that examined the possible effects of reintroducing wolves to Yellowstone from Canada predicted an average of 22 cattle and 68 sheep would be killed in the Yellowstone region each year.
 

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